How do I use pistons in Minecraft?

If you're looking to create some redstone contraptions in Minecraft, you'll likely want to employ pistons in your design. Create hidden doors, hidden stairways, and even traps with these versatile machines. Here's how to craft and use pistons to help you get started with your contraption.

How to craft pistons

There are two types of piston you can create: regular piston or sticky piston. Regular pistons will simply push a block away when engaged, whereas a sticky piston will push away and pull back a block when engaged.

Regular piston

Piston recipe

This recipe is made up of any three wood planks, four cobblestone, one redstone dust, and one iron ingot.

A piston can push up to twelve blocks in a row when engaged — powered with redstone — but will not pull any blocks back when disengaged.

Sticky piston

Sticky piston recipe

This recipe is made up of a regular piston and a slime ball. Slime balls can generally only be found underground or in swamps during the night. Pro-tip: swamps will be full of slime during full moons.

A sticky piston can push up to twelve blocks in a row when engaged, but will only pull one back with it when disengaged unless you're using a slime block.

How to place pistons

Placing pistons

Place the piston in your hotbar, then right-click with the piston in your hand to place it on the ground or against another block. When placing a piston, the head will always face you no matter where you aim your crosshair. This can cause some tricky building, but at least you have a constant idea, unlike stairs, of how the piston will sit.

How to power pistons

Single piston and lever

The piston must be connected to either powered redstone or to a lever or other redstone switch. In the Windows 10 Edition of Minecraft, you can attach levers or other redstone switches directly to a piston.

Redstone with lever

If you want one redstone switch to control multiple pistons, you will have to link the pistons with redstone dust and power it. Contraptions using pistons and redstone can be unbelievably intricate, but a good starter project is to create a hidden staircase or hidden door.

Blocks that cannot be used with pistons

Most blocks in the Minecraft world can be pushed and pulled by pistons. There are, however, a few exceptions.

Blocks that will break if pushed or pulled

These blocks, when broken, will turn into a drop that you can pick up and use again, just as if you'd hit it with the applicable tool.





Item frame

Jack o'lantern


Flower pot


Pressure plate



Redstone comparator

Redstone dust

Redstone repeater

Sugar cane


Weighted pressure plate

Blocks unaffected by pistons

Some blocks will simply not move or break when used with a piston.


Enchantment table

End portal frame

Monster spawner


How to use slime blocks with pistons

Slime block recipe

If you manage to collect nine slimeballs, you can craft a slime block.

Slime block attached to a sticky piston

Attaching a slime block to a sticky piston allows you to move blocks directly adjacent to the slime block.

Channel beneath the slime block

Keep in mind that a piston can only move 12 blocks in a row, so if you place it on the ground, it will not move. You must create a channel beneath the slime block to allow its movement.

Blocks attached to a slime block

Once you've made the channel beneath the slime block, you can attach the blocks you'd like to move.

Engaged piston with blocks attached

When you engage the piston, it will push the slime block as well as any attached blocks. All blocks touching the slime block will return to their regular position when the piston is disengaged.

Your piston contraptions

What is the biggest and most complicated contraption you've created using pistons? Let us know in the comments section below!